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44 Friday, October 25,1985
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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BY RABBI IRWIN GRONER
Special to The Jewish News
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God said to Abraham: "And I would bear witness to these val-
will make of thee a great na- ues.
Every year, when I meet with
tion, and I will bless thee and,
make thy name great, and be the confirmation class, I ask
them to react to the term "Cho-
thou 'a blessing.
A great and unique destiny sen People." Inevitably, the vast
was conferred on Abraham and majority of 15-year-olds state
his descendanti by these words. their strong dislike for the term
There have been times in the and what they think it means.
life of the Jew when it was dif- They want no part of "Chosen-
ficult to believe in this promise ness," because it offends their
— ages of suffering and misery, sense of democratic equality.
tragic oppression and humilia- "We are all human beings, none
better and none worse."
Our young reflect the attitude
There were eras when the
world's low opinion of the Jew of their elders. To the majority
was so perirasive that it entered of ,flews, the idea of chosenness
the folk-images of the Western is, at best, irksome. Towards the
world: Shylock, with his pound outside world, they would like to
of flesh; Fagin, the corruptor of
youth; Judas Iscariot, the
deity-killer of the Passion Play.
But the world's opinion of the
Jew and the external circum-
stances of his life did not affect Isaiah 40:27-41:16.
his mind and spirit, for the Jew
had his own self-image, one
fashioned by his tradition and
turn the tender cheek of equal-
the discipline of his way of life.
ity, hoping to be accepted'as
That tradition taught him, from
equals because they themselves
his youth, that he was sprung
eschew all pretense of separate-
from a people who had been
ness. •We, were kept apart be-
chosen by God to play an
cause you forced us to live
unique, saving role in the his-
apart. Now we want to be
tory of mankind. He knew that partners in the whole pattern of
when he saw hate rampant,
when he experienced the blind
The modern Jew is free to live
struggle of nations his task was
a Jewish life and he strives to
to bear a vision of that day
avoid it. He fights for free reli-
when "peace would be unto
gious expression and when he
those who are near and far off
obtains it, he forgoes its bene-
When he saw oppression and
We need to re-affirm the basic
injustice, it was his mission to
principle. The,Jewish story be-
cry out for truth and freedom.
gins with Abiaham. Abraham,
"Justice, justice shalt thou pur-
tradition declares, stood alone,
sue." One of the factors that ex-
not because he sought be a dis-
plains the quality of Jewish life
senter or deviate, because he
has been the high conception of was set apart to realize great
itself and its character that Is-
ideals. In his uniqueness, he
rael has always held. ..
discovered a blessing that would
We can derive great satisfac-
endure for all generations. We,
tion from the knowledge that his descendants, have been cho-
the Jew is perceived differently sen 'to live with a consciousness
in the modern world, and his
of purpose, to puisue the high
achievements are widely recog-
standards that the Torah sets
nized. It is significant to note before us.
the extent and degree to which
The word that came to Ab-
Jewish themes, terms, and per- raham was never forgotten by
sonalities have become popular
his descendants. Let it be re-
in American culture. Novels,
membered by us and let us
movies, even television prod-
teach it-to our children.
uctions portray Jewish types
and characters. We are well-
represented in the media. We School Named
take pride in the number of
Jewish candidates elected to For Anne Frank
positions of public office.
Bergen-Belsen, Germany — A
And yet, in the midst of this months-old discussion within
dramatically improved society, city government regarding the
where the Jew is recognized for choice of an appropriate memo-
his contribution and respected rial to Anne Frank ended Sept.
18, with the renaming of a
for his accomplishments, we are
not at ease. The world has im- school in honor of the-Jewish
proved its understanding of the girl who was taken from
Jew, but the Jew has lost some- Amsterdam during World War
thing of his high conception of II to the Bergen-Belsen concen-
tration camp, where she died.
The original proposal, by local
The story of the Jewish people Social Democrats, was to name
begins with Abraham, who was a major thoroughfare after the
addressed by God to assume a young Holocaust victim, but the
special responsibility — to de- idea met with Objections from
lare the truth of one humanity the local population, fearing it
d one morality to all the would unfairly single out their
oples of the earth. This task town for blame because the
s to be fulfilled in a special notorious camp had happened to
way by his • descendants who be built nearby.
. . .
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